Yacht Design

where is the world of yacht design present? i rarely, rarely see raw yacht concepts in preliminary stages…
is there a need for industrial designers in this field?

im interested in pursuing such a career dependent on how easy it is to integrate into boat culture…

anything on this topic would be much appreciated

Boat design in general seems to have been left to the engineers, you mostly see styling excercises above the water line and that’s it. Its all about function, which I can appreciate, but most boats look very similar to each other and to designs from decades ago.

The most recent water-going suprise of late is [u]this[/u]

Now, turn that concept into a luxury yacht. Or a speed boat. Could get interesting.

Hydroplanes are an interesting slice of the boating world, too, but you don’t see or hear about them very much.

So yes, I think there is a need for industrial designers in the boat industry!

[u]Another interesting boat design[/u] that uses a lot of “high tech” materials to achieve the same thing eskimo’s did with driftwood and seal skin, except that it folds up for easy transport.

I’ve recently built a similar kayak, skin-on-frame, but with old-school materials (I did cut many parts out on a CNC router, however). Would be great to design a larger boat using the “traditional” skin-on-frame design parameters and exotic materials…

i know a few yacht designers in west michigan for Tiara Yachts. I went to school with them. they do a lot of custom stuff for high-end boats. the trick is, when the economy is in the crapper, business suffers. with that, many boat companies outsource a bit of their design work.

The Wallypower is the hottest of recent years by far IMO:

Check out companies like Bayliner and Bombardier. A lot more could be done in this zone than is currently going on, which is a huge opportunity for a designer.

From the image Yo posted you don’t get a feel for the actual size of this Power Yacht, until you look closely at the windshield area to get a human reference; this is a 118 foot vessel.

Wally Yacht has been kicking ass for some time now … their sailing vessels are gorgeous as well.

But Industrial Design is making inroads in the marine world. Notably, furniture (no, not chairs and tables) is starting to reflect the influence of Industrial Designers; ‘furniture’ in the marine context being; cleats, bollards, hawsepipes, winches, pumps, heads (aka:toilets), instrumentation, power distribution, etc.

As Yo notes, the potential for ID is great.

Professional Boatbuilder Magazine; available free to qualified individuals (anyone in the marine industry, or who says they are in the marine industry); frequent mention of the discipline, and value, of ID in the marine industry. Available hardcopy, or on-line @ www.proboat.com

Boat Design.net … a great boat building site; many participants are Marine Architects, and long time leaders to the marine industry; lots of Professional and Student design concepts. A tremendous resource for education, mentoring, materials, and hardware.

Specialized training in “Marine Architecture” and “Marine Interior Design” is available at many US universities (U of Michigan), and via remote study courses (the oldest and most reputable, being:
Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology

The professional license of “Marine Architect” aside, if this isn’t considered Industrial Design, I don’t know what is…

friggin geogeous… that last one is a lot like mine… oh wait, I don’t have a yatch :0

i would liek to add a new yacht from Fearless that was designed in collaboration with Porsche Design. Unfortunately i did not find pics in teh google images but if u just simply google it you will find many articles and pic…

The marine industry is much like the aerospace industry. Both disciplines create products that must survive and thrive in some of the most hostile and extreme of conditions on Earth. This is why you don’t see many leaps of form and futuristic designs, and why most vessels, as noted in another comment, look so similar. Form follows function out of necessity as the lives of the passengers depend upon good engineering and survivability of materials and construction.

However that’s not to say there is not change underway today. You will see more extreme examples of progressive design in coastal vessels/ smaller yachts, and powerboat and personal watercraft design built for calmer waters and fairer weather. This is also true in aerospace; you’ll see more innovative forms in smaller business jets and experimental private aircraft. When it comes to larger commercial vessels and commercial aircraft they are pretty much the same as all of the others.

We made a large step forward with the Boeing 787’s form, organic lines, drop nose flow to the fuselage, and the 787’s amazing new wings. This was because we are now building with new technology, new materials, and new construction processes. This gives the designer/engineer greater ability to re-define the design to reflect fresh organic streamlined flows, at the same time reducing fuel consumption, improving performance characteristics, improving passenger comfort, and reducing it’s environmental impact.

In the marine industry in both Commercial and Private you are also seeing advancements in form, fresh thoughts, due also to improved materials available, and an design savey consumer who now demands greater creativity on their program. Wally boats are using composites and glass superstructure which allow their design to progress in new directions. These materials and production processes were not available to us a decade before.

Ulstein Group in Norway has in the last couple of years developed a new bow form that is really cutting edge…in commercial shipbuilding terms.


In the private yachting industry the most significant trend is that these boats are getting larger and larger, more toys to carry, more places to go see, more exotic materials can now be used on the interiors. Here’s an interesting vessel that pushes the limits of luxury yachting…Paul Allen’s little boat, “M/Y Octopus”.


Great post by the way…yes there’s more than enough room in this industry for Industrial Designers.


That Norwegian ship is really unique. I’d love to see one of those up close.

Paul Allen’s boat is just sick. There is a level where someone is “too rich”.

Check out this link

http://www.boatdesign.net :smiley:

Home » Design Galleries » Gallery of Professional Design Work

some design work from this sites


The Colossus is sweet.

multi hull boats both power and sail have been around for a hell of a long time, in the 1870’s nat hershof had a cat that ate the other yachts alive and was promply outlawed. The primary use of “styling” in yacht design is in the interior and lesser to the above the water line. The concepts shown are funtionaly unusable for a raft of reasons, some of the simplest being is that you use the decks of a boat as much if not more than the interior. The other cosnideration is solar gain, abilty to move on deck in bad weather, structure, and weight/windage. I have designed and built 5 multi’s and was involved n hughs design a commerical multi hull design group and kiddies designing a boat is about as hard as a aircraft, in some ways more difficult as water is HEAVY. The wally, is in realty a 1980’s vintage unlimited off shore deep vee with jet turbines on steroids nothing much new at all and is after all just a big sport boat. Naval architecture is a very riguious field and as a blue water boat must be designed, built, to with stand the rigiours of open ocean its a pretty tough thing. Lets look at a simple thing, ever wonder why “head room” in a yacht is so low (no more than 7’) it has nothing to to with the look or the structure its so you can not get launched way the hell up in the air in a heavy sea, hell lots of boats also have padded overheads for that very reason. The yacht design world is pretty small, some great ones are out there but they are as much engineers as “designers” because the sea is unforgiving.
this boat http://www.multihulldesigns.com/stock/28cat.html was designed in the early 90’s and built in 2001…look familar?


Zippy’ quite right…water IS heavy and the ocean IS very unforgiving. It’s an amazingly dynamic environment which to apply your design skills to, and one to be approached with all earnestness. It is so specialized that it takes teams of marine designers, naval architects, electrical engineers, Structural engineers, systems engineering, and the yacht designers’ years to create some of these amazing vessels, then it takes years for the shipyards to build them.

Individuals and firms with vision, creative innovation, building upon solid engineering and construction practices, and personal experience (it really helps), who can capture the hopes and dreams of the ‘customer’ will always find a place in this field. It may take some time because your now dealing with an industry that moves more like a glacier because “everything” must be proved out in testing, real world applications, and time. That’s another reason you don’t see huge moves in designs in this field.

For example…

The ‘Colossus’ hull design has been around in basic form since 1983 when Phil Hercus first conceived the idea. Since then INCAT Australia has designed and built vessels with the Wave Piercing hull which are in service around the world.



Oh…that’s why you mainly see a bunch of old guys doing this, with a group of young designers and naval architects pushing them, yet following their paths…it just takes time to get real world smarts.


Yo, you mentioned bayliner, but have you guys seen Chris Crafts lately? They went through a massive re-brand (and new management) and have launched a full new product line that is, in my opinion, starting to recreate the runabout luxury boat. Check it out for yourself: http://www.chriscraft.com

The Corsair is nice, but I want to see some Hyannisport, Kennedy compound stuff…

Oh…that’s why you mainly see a bunch of old guys doing this, with a group of young designers and naval architects pushing them, yet following their paths…it just takes time to get real world smarts.


Not new technology now (launched in 1992) but certainly the basis for much of what is being done now.


LOA: 222 feet (length overall)
BOA: 42.6 feet (beam overall (width))
54,000 shp (max horsepower)
51,675 shp (continuous duty hp)
Prime Mover(s): 3 - General Electric LM1600 Gas powering jet pumps.

Light displacement: 65+ knots (approx. 75 mph)
Full-load: 40+ knots (approx 46)

With regard to the “canoe bow”, not a new idea really.
Pre-dated by the Greek Trireme,

the application in modern war ships can be seen in the USS Olympia (C-6); laid down in 1891. On Olympia it was a means of reducing the profile of the vessel (always a good thing in objects being shot at), while providing adequate floation. On the Trireme it was the means of projecting the primary “weapon system” ahead of the vessel.

LOA: 344 feet
BOA: 53 feet
Power: 17,300 shp (compared to Destriero)
Speed: 21.7 knots (approx. 25 mph)

Ulstein’s X-Bow, appears to be a logical, and to my eye pleasing, evolution of the bow-bulb.

Saw this homepage first time a coupe of years ago, just came to think about it talking about yachts, its not a its not a yacht just a huge ship that probably never will be built, the site dont seem to have been updated for ages. But the thought of it is dazzling, an I like to see people with visions! Check it out


Just had to post a pic too:)